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The mission of The Dalton DeHart Photographic Foundation is to digitize, catalog and preserve an expanding collection of approximately one million photographs chronicling the Houston community, primarily nonprofit and community events, and to make these images publicly accessible for their educational, historic, and cultural value.
Dalton spent the first eighteen years of his life in the small East Texas community of Buna. After graduation from high school, he entered Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. During his undergraduate years, he worked at various jobs to pay virtually all of his educational expenses. During those undergraduate years, he engaged in a number of academic and social activities. At that time, he began documenting his experiences with a small inexpensive camera. That practice has continued to this day.
His photos have always been an important part of his life. They have been with him through the completion of his undergraduate degree, his tour in the U.S. Army, his high school teaching years, his college teaching years, and his graduate school years, which culminated in his receiving his doctorate. In the fall of 1983, he began teaching at San Jacinto College Central in Pasadena, Texas. In 1986, he became a permanent professor of English at San Jacinto College, and in 1989 he became Chairman of the Language Skills Department, a position he retains to the present.
In 1978, he purchased his first two 35mm cameras. Since that time he has taken over 12,370 rolls of film. All of his photographed rolls of film are numbered, dated, and identified. He can locate any event by checking through his film files. He began taking pictures in the Houston area in 1987 with roll number 2220. Since that time, he has shot approximately 10,350 rolls of film at numerous events and activities in the community. These include action shots at Deer Park High School football games and San Jacinto College basketball games. He has taken photographs of meetings with the last three mayors of Houston as well as many of the city council members. In addition, he has taken thousands of photographs of fund-raisers designed to assist victims of AIDS. Among the many photos are the faces of many people who have died as a result of the deadly disease.
He intends to continue taking photographs that document the vibrant city of Houston and the surrounding area. He currently provides photographs to several publications. Among them are the Houston Voice/Eclipse and OutSmart. According to his colleagues and those who have attended events that he has photographed, Dalton has the ability to capture the moment and present the event in such a fashion that years later his photographs can actually recreate the entire event in the memory of the viewer. The world and the imagination work together to produce lasting memories in the photography of Dalton DeHart.